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-   -   "You Aren't 'insert race here' "?!.. (http://www.naturallycurly.com/curltalk/general-discussion-about-curly-hair/152856-you-arent-insert-race-here.html)

MixedGoldiLocks 12-12-2012 09:34 AM

"You Aren't 'insert race here' "?!..
 
Okay let me start by saying im a mixed race , 13 year old girl . About a week ago, i posted about people discussing the race question, but i think it got worse.. Okay my skin is caramel coloured so when people first see me the first thing they think is "she is african american" . And thats fine with me, but then they get closer & see my hair & eyes & start asking questions about my race . Thats awkward enough. But what really made me feel weird was when i was riding home with my little cousin (shes 8) and she held up a old black cell phone & held it up to my skin and said "look! Black & black!" I knew she was kidding , but my family (younger ones) will make jokes all the time about how dark i am compared to them, so it hurt. Dont get me wrong, i LOVE being black, but i almost felt.. Discriminated. And she did something like this before, except i think it was worse... Anyway, on friday night, i had a friend over, who is also biracial and the race thing comes up & she says "goldi locks, you arent mixed." But im just sitting there thinking "THEN WHAT AM I?!" Its not like i can solely claim one or the other! But i was calm & said yes i am.. Both my parents are but my mom looks white & my dad looks more black . But she just ignored me. Once again i do love being black, but im other things too and they just label me as one. I would be just as upset if someone said i was just white. I look somewhere in between. My hair is brown & strawberry blonde 3c-3b curls, my skin is like.. Coffee with creamer in it , and my eyes will shift from green hazel green . It bothers me somehow,.. I just wanna be "human" you know? :/

rbb 12-12-2012 10:31 AM

it sounds to me as tho you have very striking, attractive looks, not the run of the mill kind, so maybe that is why people ask??? it is rude, but people don't think and they may think you understand that they are struck by your unique looks in a positive way.
it's like any kid, sometimes we look more like one parent than the other. and not like our siblings. it just is.
you should stop worrying what people say/think -- actually, just a silent stare is often quite effective to intrusive comments... hahaha! seriously.
it sounds like you have a lot to feel good about concerning your looks, your hair curl, your skin/hair/eye color.... start enjoying being unique!

jaclyn15 12-12-2012 10:54 AM

I agree with rbb... Unfortunately, when we are young, we are taught that it is better to fit in and blend in. But as you get older, you will realize that the ways you are different make you special and define the person you are.

Sometimes people do not understand the harm they do to us with their comments. Just know that as you get older you will learn to appreciate what makes you unique. And you will find people who value you and your gifts and spend more of your time with them.

Jas76 12-12-2012 11:55 AM

You want to be "human"? Well guess what, honey! You ARE! And that's all that's really important.

I don't buy into the whole "race" thing, personally. Because 1) what does it matter?, 2) very few of us are actually one single race, and 3) it's a social construct use to categorize and label people.

Ethnicity can be important, in that it can be useful for medical purposes (some ethnicities are more prone to certain diseases, etc). And certainly ethnicity (and the corresponding culture of that ethnic origin) can be something one honors as part of their heritage, which can be a beautiful thing.

But beyond that, it's never really clicked with me why it's so important to people.

So try not to let it bother you too much. At your age it's quite common to not want to feel "different" - but 1) you're not, and 2) different is good, anyhow!

And if people want to label you - black, mixed, "not mixed", whatever - that's their issue. Don't let it be yours! Certainly none of those labels are bad things, anyhow, so again - their issues, not yours.

Hopefully you'll come to a point where you can say "well, my dad is this and this, and my mom is this and this", and it's no more than a factual, interesting fact about your genealogy/heritage! Same way I say "my dad is Italian, Cherokee, and British, and my mom is British and Swiss" - because its not different than saying african, Chinese, etc - even if some people see you and treat you as if it's different. Again - THEIR issue!

I have two friends who are "mixed" - one has a black father and a white mother, one has a black father and a Hispanic mother. Both have said they have felt like they weren't accepted or didn't belong in either "catagory". I have a student who is caucasian and yet people assume she's "mixed", and she even feels some of that. I think it's a common issue for people of apparent mixed race. Again I've never understood why it matters so much to people, or how someone could have the nerve to say "you aren't black/mixed/Hispanic/white enough". What does that even mean???

Sorry for the long post - lol! But I hope maybe it helped in some way?

Just be the PERSON that you are, not the "race". Anyone who can't accept that - THEIR PROBLEM!! ;)

adthomas 12-12-2012 01:30 PM

You must be really young. You care way too much what other people think. Time, life experience and maturity will take care of a lot of that. Some people in life will push your buttons just because they can. These people know you are sensitivr about this subject. So if you let it get to you then they win. Shadeism pretty much goes with the territory of being black or really of being a minority because of the closer to white is better attitude. House slaves versus field slave mentality. I have seen plenty of it in my family because most of my mom's side is extremely light skin and freckled. The few who are dark get teased. I self identify as black but I have had black, white, asian and the rest tell me I'm not a "real" black person because I'm not dark skin and I have curly hair. My feeling about their opinions is whatever. They don't pay my bills.

tricello 12-12-2012 02:10 PM

Here is a suggestion - find someone who:

1) Looks like you and who you admire and you think has a cool life.
2) Then, know that that you can then have that life too.

If people around you don’t look like you, there are others out there who do. Today, with the media and the internet it is much easier to find them.

One of the differences between being young and being old is the size of our worlds. When you are young, your world is smaller. As you get older, your world expands because you meet more people, have more experiences, and have more choices. So some things that bother you when you are13 don’t bother you as much when you are 23, 33, 43, etc. because you realize the world is big and can hold all of us - and we have a lot of options at our disposal. And if some people don’t like us, there are others who will.

And if you can get this when you are 13, you are way ahead of the game.

Jas76 12-12-2012 04:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by adthomas (Post 2084947)
You must be really young. You care way too much what other people think. Time, life experience and maturity will take care of a lot of that. Some people in life will push your buttons just because they can. These people know you are sensitivr about this subject. So if you let it get to you then they win. Shadeism pretty much goes with the territory of being black or really of being a minority because of the closer to white is better attitude. House slaves versus field slave mentality. I have seen plenty of it in my family because most of my mom's side is extremely light skin and freckled. The few who are dark get teased. I self identify as black but I have had black, white, asian and the rest tell me I'm not a "real" black person because I'm not dark skin and I have curly hair. My feeling about their opinions is whatever. They don't pay my bills.

This is fascinating, and also concerning. I do not understand someone teasing relatives for being darker skinned. (I don't understand anyone teasing anyone for that, really.) I don't understand the OP's friend telling her "goldilocks, you aren't mixed", either, but people who identify as black mistreating each other because they are "too black"? Don't most minorities, "black" or otherwise, have enough backward "white" people treating you poorly for that reason? Why perpetuate that on each other?? And over skin pigment levels??

Of course I get teased by fellow "white" people for being too pale. And white people are always comparing tans and bragging if they win they "who's darker" contest. How's that for ironic?

None of that makes sense to me - it honestly doesn't. Racism, shade-ism... I just don't get it.

But like you pointed out, "their feelings are whatever". Ignorance - all you can do is just shake your head and try not to let it bother you!

Korkscrew 12-12-2012 05:06 PM

Well, ideally ethnicity shouldn't matter (especially to a 13 yr. old), but certain people around you are forcing you to have to navigate this issue. All those racially-based comments come from others' racial fixation and racial confusion. And unless you're a robot, of course you're going to feel the effects of it at times. So have some compassion for yourself for having to deal with everyone else's crap!

You can learn to make some peace with this by practicing patience toward others and yourself re: issues of "race". That doesn't mean you habitually let folks off the hook for hurtful comments. But you may want to pick your battles or you could burn out ;) Their comments aren't as personal as you might think btw. To explain:

Society is generally conflicted about race and many people try and feel safe by putting others in a "box" called "White", "Black" or "Asian", etc. Some reasons for this: to try and predict what they can/can't say or do, or to keep you at a distance based on stereotypes. When you don't fit neatly into one box, it can heighten their anxiety. Some ppl - a common theme in my own life - want to know "what you are" to guard against being discriminated against themselves.

Those dark-skinned jokes could be their internalized racism. Colorism - that tendency for non-white communities to exalt the pale skin associated with whites, is a vestige of Colonialism and I won't depress you with details, but you might want to research it for you own understanding.

Often ppl are just genuinely curious about your background because they find your look interesting/pleasing and wonder if they've accurately guessed your ethnic background correctly.

You know what you are, ethnically. It's reflected in your parents. Society's confusion has confused you at times, understandably. If someone wants you to "claim" one thing, that's their confusion and insecurity speaking. You don't owe any one group or person anything. You are a unique human who also happens to be living a multiracial experience. We all are unique, we all have hangups and we all impose those hangups on others at times. No one is better or worse than anyone else.

Korkscrew 12-12-2012 05:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jas76 (Post 2085043)
This is fascinating, and also concerning. I do not understand someone teasing relatives for being darker skinned. (I don't understand anyone teasing anyone for that, really.) I don't understand the OP's friend telling her "goldilocks, you aren't mixed", either, but people who identify as black mistreating each other because they are "too black"? Don't most minorities, "black" or otherwise, have enough backward "white" people treating you poorly for that reason? Why perpetuate that on each other?? And over skin pigment levels??

Colorism seems to date back to Colonialism. Every culture the Europeans conquered suffered from this mindset because the whites of that time imposed their cultural values, including a love of pale skin and a devaluing of dark skin - onto them. The evidence is incontrovertible: the peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America grant the highest social and financial awards to those of their ilk who have the palest skin, loosest hair and whitest features. Those are the people who tend to hold the most power. People from all those countries habitually use bleaching cream on their skin, too, despite the health risks. And of course America is no exception, although, thankfully, that trend seems to be changing a little. But really. Look at what was done to slaves. The lighter slaves breastfed the master's children and took up as house maids (and mistresses) while darker slaves endured hard days of labor in the cotton fields. Not to mention there was placage in New Orleans.

Quote:

Of course I get teased by fellow "white" people for being too pale. And white people are always comparing tans and bragging if they win they "who's darker" contest. How's that for ironic?
No one seems satisfied sometimes. Somehow it's like people want to look traditionally/acceptably attractive, and yet they also want to look just "exotic" enough to be perceived as different or "special" from everyone else :disgust:

adthomas 12-12-2012 06:34 PM

Sorry OP. I just caught that you are 13. That is a really sensitive age and jr. High and high school girls can be really cruel and jealous. I think if it wasn't color or race it would be something else they would harrass you about. You can't control what other people say only how u react to it and if they see they aren't getting to you anymore they'll likely stop.

sdkitty 12-13-2012 10:16 AM

It sounds to me like you have beautiful coloring. The teasing you get from family members may come from jealousy. I'm white. When I was growing up on the east coast there weren't many mixed race people in my community. The world has changed a lot. We now have Beyonce, Halle Berry and other big stars who are considered some of the most beautiful women in the world. And the president of the United States is bi-racial.
I have to admit sometimes when I see people with hair or skin that's hard to identify, I want to ask them what nationality they are. It's just curiousity but I usually don't ask if they are strangers.
Last weekend the most beautiful young man was running the register at costco. He looked like a Greek god with fair to medium skin and tight curly hair. I wanted to tell him so but didn't want to seem like I was hitting on him.
Just be proud of your unique beauty and try not to let jealous people bother you. (I know it's not easy at 13 but you sound pretty mature

ssa79 12-13-2012 10:03 PM

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CurlyCarmenCurly 12-19-2012 02:26 PM

People like to try and tell me what I am. I tell them that I am biracial - not black, not white - biracial. If they don't like it, they can sod off and tell someone who cares. You know what you are, ignore them sweetie. You have a right to your identity, and if one of your parents is white, you're not black. Simple.

Korkscrew 12-20-2012 03:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CurlyCarmenCurly (Post 2088961)
You have a right to your identity, and if one of your parents is white, you're not black. Simple.

Sorry, I couldn't resist ... I'd personally reframe this as " ... and if one of your parents is white, you're not totally black." I'd also add,If one of your parents is black, you're not totally white].

Why is my phrasing so nitpicky? Because the truth is we biracial folks are both things together and they can't be teased apart like that. Plus, often when I hear one of my fellow biracials saying "I can't be black because [fill in the blank with whatever reason]" it makes me wonder if they even want to be black at all. Not saying this is your thinking or the thinking you're promoting. But I think sometimes this type of speech comes from hidden shame about being part black.

tambalina 12-21-2012 11:38 AM

I am half Korean by my mother and half Caucasian, with a dash Native American thrown in there, from my father's side. Growing up, I was too Korean for my father's family and too white for the Korean side of mother's family. It's a tricky place to be. I've been asked if I'm "Oriental", "Latina", "Indian" and the like and it is never a fun conversation to have.

You seem like you look "exotic" (another favorite descriptor of mine ::eyeroll::) which intrigues people - and sometimes makes them forget their manners.

Sounds ridiculous, but when people ask me what race/nationality/ethnicity/species I am, I simply question them back, with a giant smile and sweet countenance:

"Why do you ask?"

Dear Abby taught me that one. It helps to get to the bottom of what information they are seeking without sounding bitter or annoyed. Many times, people are just curious. Other times, they are out to poke a bit of fun at you.

I wish I could tell you that it stops as you get older, but I'm 32 and I still get my fair share of "profiling." It is just a fact of life, unfortunately. Getting into people's faces about THEIR insensitivity usually causes more problems than it's worth. Just remember: You can't fix stupid. Coming up with some witty comebacks might help in the short term, but I found that it usually causes people to become more aggressive with their taunting.

::hugs:: Eventually, you will learn that what makes you different is what makes you special. Find and surround yourself with people that love and accept you for what you are: HUMAN - just like you said!


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